Indoor plants have been around for years but breathed in some fresh air and are taking the world by storm, yet again.
For some, they are easy to care for and turn houses into indoor jungles, but for others, indoor plants cause great headaches. Read further for a few of the top things you need to consider if you already own one or a few indoor plants or consider buying your first indoor plant.
Do your homework
We all do it. We buy plants because they are just too gorgeous not to have, and then we add them to our indoor jungle collection and start searching for our next one. How often do you make the extra effort to read more about that specific plant and what its needs might be?
Take some extra time to read up about the plants you might already have or the plant that you are interested in acquiring to ensure you understand it’s needs and requirements.
Did you know that the number one cause of indoor plant damage is due to improper watering?
Again, read up about your plants and their specific water needs. Consider the warmth and humidity of your house and also the type of pot and potting mix that you plan to use.
Top tip: Use room temperature water as cold water can be a shock to the system for your plants.
Position, position, position
Let’s say it just one more time. Position. This is one of the most important things to take into consideration with your indoor plants. Too little light and they won’t flower or grow and might drop leaves, too much light and they can burn and shrivel up.
Remember to take the movement of the sun between winter and summer into consideration and move your plants accordingly. A few cm’s here and there can make a massive difference.
We are also blessed with very good weather in South Africa, and in autumn and spring, you can treat your plants to a bit of outdoor fresh air. Just do this gradually and ensure that the change in conditions is not too drastic ie. from no direct sunlight to direct sunlight.
A lot of the indoor plants currently available have a natural rain-forest like climate and very few indoor plants (like succulents) can withstand a large amount of dry air. It is thus important that you always try to keep the humidity up! Here are a few tips:
- Place a tray with pebbles underneath your plant that is filled with water
- Either buy or make a misting bottle from a recycled spray bottle
- Group your plants together so that they can form their own microclimate
- If you have space in your kitchen or bathroom, place your plants there
Nothing like a bit of spring cleaning
Yup, we are well away from spring, but autumn is a perfect time to give your indoor plants a proper wash before the slow winter season starts.
Dust builds up on leaves which causes plants to not breathe as well as they could. If you spot pests on your plants, a proper wash will also help get rid of them.
If you don’t have an outdoor space, put your plants in a bathtub or in the shower and take a wet cloth (add some soapy water if you spot any pests) and wipe all the leaves and stems. Give your plant a proper shower afterwards.
If you have some outdoor space and a hosepipe, consider putting your plants outside, follow the same regime as above, and use the hosepipe to give them a proper wash! A strong jet of water can do wonders to dislodge pesky insects like mealy bugs.
Feed and Fertilise
Just like us, plants also require a well-balanced diet to thrive and grow. During summer you can feed your indoor plants with a liquid fertiliser like Seagro twice a month and in winter you should make this less to somewhere around once a month when your plants are not actively growing.
Be aware that you can under and overfeed plants which can be detrimental to their health.
Top tip: If you have an empty spray bottle at home, mix a solution of water and Kelpak and use this not only for upping the humidity but also as a foliar feed for your indoor plants.
Kelpak and Seagro can be bought at a normal grocery store.
When you start seeing roots over the top or through the bottom of a pot, it's probably a good time to repot your plant. Only go ONE size up when you repot as a too big pot can lead to root rot and fungal diseases due to excess wet soil.
Top tip: Take note of the container you use and how this might influence your watering regime. Plastic containers tend to retain more soil moisture than that of terra-cotta pots.
- Keep your plant attractive and tidy by pruning, deadheading, and also removing dead leaves.
- Avoid those long legs and ensure even growth by rotating your plants every now and then.
- Be waterwise, and save your pasta water for your indoor plants - the starch in the water is good for them.
- Allow your house or flat to get some well-deserved fresh air every now and then by opening up doors and windows.
- Hairy leaved plants prefer not to have water sitting around on their leaves.
- We’ve heard that by placing a garlic clove in the soil can keep pests away - we’ve never tried it - let us know if it works ;)